THE BORGIAS “The French King” Review

THE BORGIAS "The French King" Showtime

THE BORGIAS “The French King” Season 1 Episode 6 – Now that is what I’m talking about! The sixth episode of The Borgias finally delivered on the smutty intrigue the promos have been promising for months. Up until last week the show, for all its merit in production design, was a bit of a plodding mess, with plots introduced and disposed of so quickly I for one (because I’m obviously a genius) was completely muddled.

This episode dialled the pantomine villainy back a few notches. Della Rovere is still scheming and his section of the story is still, in my opinion, the worst in its sheer dullness, but at least in this episode I’d an idea what his endgame was: by the end of the hour Rovere had enlisted the French to help him usurp Pope Rodrigo and install him as the pontiff, in exchange for control of Naples. Like I said, I thought this was a pretty dull section of the episode, but it serves a brilliant purpose in finally aligning foes against the pope and posing a genuine problem to the Pope.

Meanwhile, Lucretia has neatly disposed of her husband’s bedside manners and is now proving herself to be a very caring, devoted wife downstairs, whilst carrying on an adulterous affair with Freddie from Skins upstairs. It’s certainly an improvement, and Lucretia is by far one of the most psychologically complex characters, though this is thanks in huge part to the writing. I’m still not convinced by Holliday Grainger’s portrayal, which is not by any stretch of the imagination bad, but it’s just not compelling. She has little onscreen charisma, and if it weren’t for the seeimingly innocent duplicity of her character, she would hold little interest.

Juan Borgia, played with delectible rat-faced charisma, is yet another intriguing character, not in the least because of his concerns over his lineage. He is sensitive in the extreme: he won’t even consider the possibility of marriage to Princess Sancia of Naples because she is a bastard (though he has no qualms whatsoever in seducing her). I thought the wording of Rodrigo’s answer with regards to Juan’s birthright was curious indeed, and I hope there is more of this story to come. His is a truly hateful character: he has the Princess Sancia marry his much younger brother and proceeds to have sex with her minutes before she sleeps with his brother. What an (entertaining) dirtbag.

Cesare finds his heart has been broken as his beloved sends herself off to a nunnery, and Rodrigo Borgia finds a most interesting way to illustrate Italian politics with the use of a leg I have seen.

This lust-filled episode was filled with the odd sprinkling of necrophilia, paedophilia, incest, adultery and the good old fashion romp for fun coutesy of Showtime, which has renewed The Borgias for a second season. Hopefully the show can be as entertaining as it promised to be: this episode was certainly a huge improvement and one which I enjoyed very much.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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